Thank you to eShakti for providing a garment for review. As you will see, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links may be used.
I have very good body image. I know that I'm not perfect, but I eat better than I used to (even as of 3 years ago) and I'm at the most active point in my life. With a little hard work and acceptance of my genetics, I can find a lot of outfits that fit and flatter. But, sometimes even this is a challenge. When I was approached by Eshakti to review a customized garment with specific measurements, I jumped on that bandwagon fast. I became really excited because I have a real person's body, not a model's body. I'm short, with huge hips and a super short waist. The idea of customizing a dress to my measurements is really attractive, so naturally I was anticipating my shipment.
I chose sleeveless trapeze dress, which is a dress silhouette made famous in the 60s and 80s, fitting the shoulders and bust, and having a drastic A-line swing at the hem. this dress even had a ruffle at the bottom, adding to the hem width. It's a free-hanging silhouette, and therefore one of the most forgiving for hippy gals like myself. You'll notice a series of measurements that I provided the company, along with hem and sleeve requests. But I was surprised that the only vertical measurements they asked for were my arms and my height.
As a costume designer, I was dumbfounded. If you find another person that is the exact same height as you, chances are that your waists are not in the same spot. Neither are your boobs, your knees, or even your rib cage. That's what makes us different, and vertical measurements matter just as much as horizontal measurements (hips, bust, waist) in garment construction. This is another reason that I chose a free-hanging dress rather than a tailored piece. Because these eShakti dresses really aren't tailored...
When the box arrived, I ripped it out of the shipping container and slapped it on. My fears were confirmed. This picture of the unaltered upper torso shows you what I meant. See my undergarments in the armseye? You could fit a small dog in there. Also, the bust line is precariously low. Not to mention that even though I provided my bust measurement, I had to take in the side FOUR INCHES and there was still room to move. I even took in the shoulder straps 1" each to lift the armseye and the bust line. This, in turn, also took up the hem to the ACTUAL knee line that I requested. Again, how can you create the right hemline if you don't ask for a nape to knee measurement?! I don't get it...
But if you're reading this, saying, "But Lindsey.. you chose a free flowing garment - of course it doesn't fit!" listen to this: The lining underneath the paisley cotton was a closer fit than the shell, and still didn't fit properly. The hipline may be free flowing, but the top shell of the dress was way too big. Had I taken a chance and ordered something with an actual waistline and skirt, the torso would have still been too big and billowy because of where the waistline was supposed to sit. So, I actually saved myself some larger alterations.
Now, please know that the cottons used to make the dress were very nice. The fabrics were soft and the construction was just fine. No loose threads, lingerie straps for bras (which were rendered useless after my alteration) and even serging all the way around. The tag was majorly itchy, so that sucker got cut out of the lining seconds after this photo...
Now, once I altered the dress to actually fit my body (which gets rid of any customization factor the company offers), I added my jean jacket to help reign in all the fabric and tossed on a pair of my favorite Lucchese western boots. My black leather clutch, bangle and some jewelry rounded out the outfit for a summer to fall transition look, which is perfect for Atlanta this time of year.
My outfit additions are extremely comfortable, old standby items that I know make me feel good and matched the dress very well. Even Hubs made a comment about how the finished the look was, and snapped a few photos for us on our date night. After the disappointment of having to alter an already customized dress, that made me feel pretty awesome.
Eshakti has been campaigning: Real Fashion for Real People, which is a really admirable slogan, but since I'm a real person, and the customization factor isn't REALLY good, I'm a little disappointed. I don't think I'll be ordering from eShakti until they step up their measurement process. Tall folks, as well as short kids, will find that the process is lacking, even though you can choose sleeves, colors and accents. If you're marketing a customized, measured dress, you'd better be sure that it fits!